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Hard water vs soft water: Effects in your life

Updated on July 28, 2012

Hard water vs soft water- a comparison with no satisfactory answer. It’s simple. Hard water is hard like ice and soft water is soft like water in normal temperature, right? I was just joking. I think many of us already know what hard water and soft water is. Most of us already experienced at some point of our life that water from different sources doesn’t act in same way always. For example, well water and purified mineral water don’t taste same. So where is the difference?

Hard water is the water that contains significant amount of some minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, lime and chalk etc. On the other hand soft water is purified by removing minerals from it. Soft water contains just sodium ion. Mineralization of this soft water is needed to make it drinkable. Rainwater is the natural source of soft water.

Besides testing in the laboratory, we can recognize the water type by its source, taste and reaction with soap and to heat. All grounded water will contain the minerals, so they are likely hard water. All treated water will be soft water. Taste can’t be described. You will need to taste it yourself. Now, reaction with soap- in hard water it’s hard to make foam with soap. And if you heat hard water, it’ll form sediment.

I know what you are thinking now. Which one you should choose or which one is better or which one is safer? You’ve got an answer too, haven’t you?

So the question is: Hard water vs Soft water- which one do you like?

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Assess your answer by reading the following.

Before going further, one thing I should clearly state that hard water is not at all a threat to our health as it seemed to be. But hard water produces some problem as does the soft water. Let’s go in little deep into the matter.

So what are the effects of hard water and soft water you can find in your life? Find out good ones and bad ones.

Hard water vs Soft water- Drink:

Hard water is superior to soft water as a drink as it contains minerals. It tastes good also. On the other hand, soft water doesn’t taste good. More sodium ion makes the softened water more salty.

Hard water vs Soft water- Soap and clothes:

Most obvious difference we feel between hard water vs. soft water is that hard water act poorly with soap. Soap contains mostly salt of sodium and potassium. When soap comes in contact with hard water calcium and magnesium of hard water reacts with soap salt and take the place of sodium and potassium by displacing them, thus forming insoluble salts. Due to this undesirable reaction, no foam or little foam forms. So soap works little in hard water.

After all the calcium and magnesium being used up by using soap in hard water for longer time, soap starts to work. That’s why, in hard water, more soap is needed than that of in soft water. The curd like insoluble substance produced during softening of hard water by prolonged use of soap also cause harm to your clothes. Clothes are less cleaned in hard water then in soft water. This is by far the most important undesirable effect of hard water for us.

Hard water vs Soft water- Plumbing and lead pipe:

Hard water causes harm to plumbing system by deposition of mineral layers within the pipeline and thus narrowing of it. On the other hand, softening of hard water makes it more corrosive. This soft water, when passed through lead pipe and faucets, leaches lead. This increases lead content of the water which is not good.

Hard water vs Soft water- Boiling pots/container, sink & bathtub:

When hard water is boiled within tea kettles and various other boilers, it produces some insoluble substance that becomes deposited in the inner layer of the container. This inner layer makes the container wall less heat conductor. This leads to the need of more heat to boil water. This doesn’t happen in case of soft water. Thus, hard water cause harm to the water boiling containers and increases the consumption of energy.

Hard water is the cause of stain on sink, bathtub, shower head etc. Soft water won't do that.

Hard water vs Soft water- Skin and hair:

Sometimes some of you may experience dryness of your skin and no reason is found. Do you know why? Yes, you’re right. Hard water might be one of the important causes of dryness of skin. Again, the curd that was made by reaction with soap may block pores in the skin causing trapping of bacteria within the hair follicles. These in turn cause infection.

Hard water not only affects your skin but also affects your hair. It may cause your hair looking dull, sticky. But with soft water, skin is felt silky smooth. Shampoo works well in soft water and thus hair condition remains good as expected. Some believes hard water to be the cause of thinning of hair and breakage of hair.

I noticed that when I shampoo my hair, for the second round I need much less shampoo to lather my hair than I need in first round. This is because; shampoo needs to neutralize the dirt already present in the hair. When they’re gone, much less shampoo is needed as there is no need for neutralizing anything. In this way hard water minerals needed to be neutralized by the soap or shampoo first before making any foam.

The minerals of hard water causes imbalance in the pH of the skin which is one of the main causes of dryness. It also produces rashes on skin leading to dermatitis. Hard water itself doesn’t cause dermatitis. It stimulates pre-existing dermatitis.

Hard water vs soft water- no one is winner. We need both of them but in a balanced form. So try to know whether your water is too hard or too soft. If too hard the arrange softener and if too soft then arrange adding chemicals to it. Keep a balance.


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